CCleaner Review

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CCleaner Review

CCleaner is designed to eliminate unneeded and duplicate files, update outdated software, and keep your system running fast. Everything you do on your PC has the potential to create junk files, compromise your registry, and slow the speed of your processor.

You can't stop using the internet or limit computer usage to prevent the accumulation of duplicate data, temporary files, and other debris. What users can do is download a PC cleaner like CCleaner to remove the unneeded garbage. CCleaner will permanently erase junk files without impacting your operating system.

This review of CCleaner, by Piriform, was created to help you determine if it is the right PC cleaner for your needs.

4.7

Top Choice
Overall
Effectiveness
User-Friendly
Tech Support
Safety

Features

There is a lot more to CCleaner than just freeing up disk space and cleaning the registry. The CCleaner software has a significant list of tools covering many privacy-oriented capabilities in addition to the options you would expect from a Windows or Mac cleaner.

screenshot of CCleaner running a scan of a MacOS system

CCleaner will first perform a scan and recommend a course of action to correct any problems it finds. You can modify what it will do, but it usually makes the right decisions, and you can trust it to perform its recommendations and click "Run Cleaner".

Privacy Protection

Privacy protection keeps cookies and Javascript, that browsers collect during web browsing, flushed out regularly. This utility can prevent tracking by ad networks and make your browsing a little more secure, as sensitive information is sometimes stored in cookies.

Cleaning Your PC

CCleaner helps you with optimization by finding and removing temporary files that collect over time. These can accumulate and use quite a bit of hard drive space. This is useful to clean up old Windows and Mac OS updates, unused language packs, temporary images, and trash bins that aren't always emptied.

System Permissions

If you find that applications persistently crash, or other problems start to appear, it is sometimes due to access settings being wrong. CCleaner software will also automatically fix broken system permissions on your computer, which is important before upgrading your OS.

Uninstall

tools window in CCleaner

CCleaner's uninstall tool will check for files and folders commonly left behind by a typical software uninstall.

Startup Management

Programs that launch at startup are largely responsible for Microsoft Windows gradually slowing down. This option lets you control what apps launch at startup.

Erase Free Space

Using this tool, you can permanently erase all traces of previously deleted files.

When you delete a file, it is actually recoverable until it gets overwritten with new data multiple times. CCleaner takes care of that problem for you, so users don't have to worry about sensitive data you thought was gone coming back to haunt you.

screenshot of CCleaner wiping free disk space

The erase feature has the ability to automatically overwrite files up to 35 times, which far exceeds even military standards for data erasure. Most users are unaware that everything they view or download with browsers like Google Chrome or Safari stays readable even after you delete it. This utility is the most effective way to clear any trace of browser activity or sensitive files that you deleted, without the possibility of recovery.

Free vs. Professional

You may have noticed that some of the features listed above are specifically for CCleaner Pro, which costs less than $25 per year for one home PC.

Duplicate file scanning

While CCleaner Free gets you started with a thorough scan, upgrading delivers the following:

  • More thorough cleaning tools
  • App updates
  • Privatization of browsing history
  • Internet tracker detection and removal
  • Instant updates
  • Priority status if customer service is needed

This version of the CCleaner software is a great starting point if you want to try the popular software out and see if it makes a difference in how your PC runs. If you want to extensively cleanup and optimize your Windows or Mac computer, consider investing in the Professional version.

Registry cleaner

The Professional version also provides ongoing protection from unnecessary clutter and slowdown in real time. CCleaner will work in the background to ensure you never run out of hard drive space and aren't negatively impacted by outdated apps, browser trackers, temporary files, and random data accumulating with use.

Why Use CCleaner?

There are other optimization and registry cleaners out there, but there are a few reasons you should consider CCleaner among the best:

  • It's easy and affordable. All versions of CCleaner have a user interface that is easy to understand and a price that we found to be quite reasonable.
  • There are no ads. Many free downloads come with unwanted ads and content that can really slow your system down just as fast as the various files the tool is designed to address. Users can avoid a lot of trouble by going with adware-free tools from well-known software makers like Piriform.
  • CCleaner doesn't track your activity. A user generally has no idea how much their software is tracking their activities. CCleaner is a reputable product that won't use tracking cookies.
  • Built-in security. Even the free CCleaner download contains some basic settings to protect against security risks. You won't introduce new vulnerabilities by using this software.
Removing junk files

Cost

You can download the app and access the basic maintenance tools and privacy protection monitoring for free. This makes CCleaner the best solution if you're on a tight budget or will not use advanced options to optimize PC speed and performance.

CCleaner Pro costs $24.95 per year for Windows or Mac. It works in the background to ensure you are never low on disk space and provides more thorough search of your hard drive. It will also check apps in need of updating and ensure your browsing history is private for greater security. One more benefit is the ability to detect and delete website trackers.

Pros

  • A free version is available.
  • Simple, easy to use platform.
  • Built-in privacy.

Cons

  • Ransomware and malware protection not included.

Is CCleaner Safe?

CCleaner is safe to use and works well. However, you should be aware that in 2017, Piriform (the makers of CCleaner) was hacked. Over two million consumers installed a version of the program that was infected with malware, allowing hackers to gain unauthorized access to their devices. This issue was fixed fairly quickly and one has to assume this was the reason for the company to make much stronger anti-malware statements on their website now.

CCleaner can be useful if:

Windows is no longer functioning at peak performance.

Slower performance interferes with work, personal enjoyment, and productivity. You may not need to replace or upgrade your PC as often if CCleaner can fix or cleanup the issues slowing everything down.

You want to stop the accumulation of data and repetitive files.

Preventing the problem is always better than dealing with the mess later.

You're concerned about your safety online and want to maximize your protection.

Maintaining a safer virtual environment is just as important as maintaining a good physical environment. CCleaner won't perform the job of a good anti-virus program, but it can fix many vulnerabilities.

You frequently enjoy gaming or streaming videos and music.

You need to maintain speed and response times to ensure Windows can keep up.

You are not comfortable making manual changes to the Windows registry.

It's true that the latest versions of Windows have a cleaning utility to do the same things as tools like CCleaner. The catch is you have to know what each feature is and how to access and change the settings. It then takes a lot of time to manually select the feature every few months to ensure your registry is clean now and in the future. If you don't have technical expertise, CCleaner software is an affordable do-it-now and do-it-right solution.

Disk usage by file size

Will You Still Need Anti-Virus Protection?

Neither CCleaner or any other registry cleaner will replace a good anti-virus program. CCleaner does come with some protections, but it isn't designed to prevent hacking or infection with viruses. Think of it more as backup to keep your operating system at optimal performance while your anti-virus program protects against the big threats.

How To Get Started

CCleaner provides users with an intuitive, fast, and easy to use utility to clean your computer. Once you download and run the application, it will perform a full scan.

Just follow these simple steps to get it up and running quickly:

  1. Decide between the different version of CCleaner. Read through the comparison above if you aren't certain.
  2. For the free version, click the green "Download" button on the website.
  3. When prompted, click "save file" to save the file.
  4. Find the file in your list of downloads and click to launch the installation program.
  5. If you receive a prompt from Windows asking for permission to install, click yes to grant permission.
  6. Click the "install" button to start the automatic installer. Follow prompts on your screen to move forward as needed.
  7. Once installed, open CCleaner to begin cleaning your system.
Excluded files

If you decide to go with CCleaner Professional, you will enter your payment details before following the above steps. When going through the payment screens, you may have offers for bundles that include other premium programs.

You can easily bypass those if you only want to buy CCleaner and won't have them when downloading the free version, so don't worry about aggressive upsells.

Final Thoughts

When CCleaner was first created, there was no way to clean Windows PC's or applications already on the typical computer. The software was extremely useful to users tired of fighting routine performance problems, and it has now been downloaded more than two billion times.

While Windows has grown enough to offer its own system-boosting options, many users lack the time or expertise to make use of such manual features. CCleaner is still a reputable, affordable option to ensure your registry, cache, browser, and applications are free of problems. It has also undergone enhancements of its own over the years, so it will help keep your system secure as well as clean.

Author Katrina O'Reilly
About The Author
Katrina O'Reilly
Katrina goes by her gamer handle MissTRex. Born in Jaynesfield Wisconsin, she studied game design at Full Sail University. She has a penchant for anything "geeky" and is still a huge gamer.